Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the Bay of Plenty this summer to enjoy the impressive line-up of events with promoters saying undoubtedly ''it will be the biggest summer yet''.
Accommodation providers are gearing up for a busy season with Holiday Houses listings up eight per cent on the same time last year.
Tauranga promoter Pato Alvarez of Pato Entertainment was predicting more than 85,000 music lovers to storm the region thanks to the raft of music events on offer.
Alvarez and his team were bringing back staple summer events, One Love and Bay Dreams, but this year had added even more individual shows to the summer calendar including Katchafire, Blindspot and Sticky Fingers.
"Tauranga is now the capital of summer events and that has always been the dream," he said.
Alvarez said he was excited to show locals and visitors to Tauranga a "next level" of entertainment with the international acts performing in the city this year, especially American rapper Cardi B set to headline Bay Dreams.
"I'm excited like everyone else for Cardi B. She is the number one artist in the world right now."
With Bay Dreams Mount Maunganui selling out 30,000 tickets five months ahead of the event and only 20 per cent of One Love tickets remaining, Alvarez said every year the music events scene was getting bigger.
"This year is going to be the biggest for sure."
Event promoter and business owner Ranui Samuels was helping to bring six new events to the Bay of Plenty and was set to open two retail stores next week.
Samuel's would be opening Rise Supply Co, his boutique menswear stores, on Maunganui Rd and Bayfair Shopping Centre next week.
He was also half of the duo behind Access All Areas who was bringing new events to Tauranga, such as Reminisce, a tribute festival at Brewers Park on December 22.
Samuels said the festival featuring tribute bands, was more affordable than other events in the region and provided a nostalgic event for the older demographic.
Acts included The Hendrix Project, Automatic 80s and Landslide Fleetwood Mac Tribute.
"Everyone knows the music and good tribute acts keep that sound alive," he said.
Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval was set to host more one day international (ODI) cricket over the summer season than any other ground in New Zealand.
The oval would be the venue for two matches against Sri Lanka on January 3 and January 5, followed by two more against India over the weekend of January 26 and January 28.
A women's ODI between the White Ferns and India would take place on January 29.
Bay Oval's general manager, Kelvin Jones, earlier said the venue was absolutely delighted.
"To have key games like the two India ODIs on a holiday weekend is huge. It'll mean the highest TV audience of any games we've had at the oval to date," he said.
Tauranga City Council city events manager Gareth Wallis said from December through to February, Tauranga's residents and visitors could enjoy a diverse range of sporting, music and community events taking place across the city.
Wallis said the city would play host to new major events including the TECT National Sevens at Tauranga Domain in December.
Wallis said the Tauranga City Council was excited to welcome NZ Cricket for another action-packed summer season at Bay Oval.
"These sporting events will be complemented by popular local and home-grown music events such as the Bay Dreams and One Love music festivals in early 2019," he said.
Wallis said there would be family-friendly public events around the city on New Year's Eve.
He said Tauranga City Council, NZ Police and other stakeholders would work together to deliver a safe environment for Tauranga's residents and visitors.
"Council will organise three family-friendly community events in the city centre, Papamoa and Matua.
"These events are designed specifically for the local communities in these areas, featuring family-focused entertainment, food and early fireworks at 9.30pm," Wallis said.
Meanwhile, wet weather was threatening to derail the first weekend of summer events, including Tauranga's Christmas Parade scheduled for today. Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said much like the rest of the country, the Bay of Plenty was on track to experience average or potentially above-average temperatures this summer.
Noll said the average temperature for Tauranga in December was 22.2C, 23.9C in January and 24C in February.
The region also had about a 40 per cent chance of experiencing near average rainfall and a 35 per cent chance of rainfall being below average.
Noll said last year's record temperatures and persistent warm weather were not on the cards this summer.
"This summer will see more ups and downs and variables compared to last year," he said.
Although the month of December looked to bring unsettled weather, Noll said the middle of the month could see more tranquil days.
The forecast for Christmas Day was difficult to peg down but it looked as though unsettled weather would be on the cards for the Bay of Plenty.
Brighter days were coming as the outlook for potentially above-average temperatures could come to fruition heading towards February, Noll said.
Sea temperatures were currently above average but were cooler than this time last year, due to record temperatures set last summer, Noll said.
Accommodation provider Holiday Houses was seeing an eight per cent increase in the number of holiday homes listed on the website, compared to this time last year.
Holiday Houses spokesperson Aaron Clancy said nearly 1000 homes were listed in the Bay of Plenty and the most popular locations by the number of enquiries were Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, Rotorua, Papamoa and Waihi Beach.
"There's good news for those last minute holidaymakers, there are still a few listings available onsite but you need to get in quick," Clancy said.
Bookabach currently had 1409 baches listed in the region and the Christmas and New Year's Eve period was the busiest.
Tony Bullot,Hospitality New Zealand's Bay of Plenty accommodation sector group chairman and owner of 850 Cameron Motel, said Tauranga motel bookings seemed to be tracking in line with what the industry saw last summer, which was good.
He said there was still "plenty of room" for dates throughout the summer period but bookings had been made almost a year in advance for some large events.
Bullot said for events such as Bay Dreams and One Love people would book accommodation as soon as the line up was announced.
Papamoa Beach Resort owner, Bruce Crosby, said bookings for the beginning of the new year were slightly up on last year but there was still some availability over the summer season.
He said there was some space from early January at the site's two-person units, some availability with family units from early to mid January and there were still a few spots available at the camping power sites.
Tourism Bay of Plenty marketing manager Kath Low said the region was expected to be typically busy.
"It is the time of the year where New Zealander's flock to the beach and the Bay of Plenty has always been a preferred holiday spot for the Summer holidays," Low said.
However, Low said over and above the lure of beaches and visiting family and friends, Tauranga was the hub of a number of large events and international cricket matches which would attract additional visitors.
"It is also a particularly busy time for cruise visitation. This coming Monday we will welcome three ships into the Port of Tauranga," she said.
Waterworld would be up and running at The Strand again this summer from December 14.
The floating waterpark made its debut at the Tauranga waterfront last year and this year would have new obstacles including a slipping wave, a column bridge and a water hamster wheel.
Waterworld managing director Kel Travers said he looked at taking the park to a new region but decided that Tauranga was "where it's at".
"Waterworld was such a hit with everyone last year and produced such an awesome vibe at the waterfront.
"We will be introducing some exciting new obstacles to make the course more challenging and more importantly more fun."